North Allegheny girls lacrosse gets defensive in season-opening win

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Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 9:47 PM


North Allegheny girls lacrosse coach Harry Datz didn’t need much time to diagnosis what made the Tigers’ offense more potent.

Behind seven goals from Old Dominion recruit Brooke Ferringer, the Tigers opened the season with a 19-9 win over Franklin Regional in their season opener. It was the most goals North Allegheny had scored since its pocketed 21 against Butler on May 1, 2017.

“Our defense got stronger first and foremost,” Datz said.

Datz also didn’t want to overstate the significance of the Tigers’ season-opening win. The Panthers qualified for states in Class AA last season, while North Allegheny fell short of the postseason.

“We put it in perspective, they are a smaller school and a division down,” Datz said. “They have fire and a winning tradition for sure, we had something to learn from them. They got the first one in on us, and we gathered everyone together and pushed together to play our game. We didn’t want to worry about their game.”

North Allegheny, which fell to 1-1 after dropping a 15-13 decision to Oakland Catholic last Wednesday, has reinvented its defense behind freshman goalie Tommi Barrante. Barrante made 10 saves in her varsity debut.

“Goaltending was a focal point from last season to this season,” Datz said. “The defense has done a nice job with a freshman goalie through the scrimmages and the games we played. Our top attackers have gotten quicker and faster.”

Ryley McClellan, Paige Jones, Katie Oates, Makenna Tuman and Valerie Davis also scored against Franklin Regional. Ferringer leads the team with 11 goals, while Jones has four and Lexi McClure has three.

Datz said North Allegheny wants to play faster.

“We have to play a fast game,” Datz said. “The rules have hurt the defensive end of the game. Attacking is going to be the way we are going to win games.”

North Allegheny also has a lot of talented underclassmen who will contribute more as the year goes along.

“We have a level-headed sophomore class that learned a lot from Brooke and Paige being captains last year,” Datz said. “They bought into the program. The sophomores have provided a learning shoulder for the freshmen. We have a good group of freshmen.”

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